The 2M Group of local authorities says that allowing Heathrow Airport to build a third runway would inevitably lead to demands for a fourth.
The all-party campaign alliance, which includes more than 20 councils, says that the ‘hub’ airport model needs high volumes of short-haul ‘feeder flights’ to provide local connections for long haul passengers.
2M say both types of flights have to arrive within the same time window so passengers can make swift connections, leading to high peaks of demand throughout the day, which create pressure to land very high volumes of planes – leading to demands for additional runway and terminal space.
2M warns that these pressures give hub airports an insatiable appetite for expansion and that BAA’s current bid to reopen the third runway debate would be followed by demands for further additional capacity including the possibility of a fourth runway, an idea already supported by a group of conservative MPs, including the MP for Spelthorne.
Speaking on behalf of the campaign group, leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia said: “History shows that the airport has an unquenchable thirst for expansion. A successful hub will always want to grow – but you simply cannot keep adding new runways in this part of the country. It blights the lives of too many people.
“Expanding Heathrow would be the wrong decision on every level. There are better options for improving the UK ‘s connectivity and we must now unpick the airport owner’s case which is inevitably based on its own commercial self interest.”
Leader of Hillingdon Council and 2M spokesman Ray Puddifoot said: “There are better ways of meeting the nation’s aviation needs than cramming more flights into this disastrously placed airport. A good place to start would be ensuring Heathrow makes best use of its existing capacity – much of which is used for repeated flights to the same destinations which do not increase London ‘s connectivity and could easily be switched to other airports.”
Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council and 2M spokesman Cllr Nick Botterill said: “The decision to locate the UK ‘s main airport at Heathrow was taken over 65 years ago at the end of the Second World War and it is simply now in the wrong place.”
One in five West London jobs are directly or indirectly linked to Heathrow. Many in business have said the west London economy would suffer badly should Heathrow close or wane.
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